BT unveils super-fast broadband plans for thousands more Sussex homes and businesses

Latest investment to focus on expanding areas already included in BT’s £2.5 billion fibre broadband roll-out 

BT today announced a further expansion of high-speed fibre broadband to another 8,400 homes and businesses in Sussex. 

The extra investment is being made in communities already included in the company’s £2.5 billion commercial roll-out of fibre broadband. 

Openreach, BT’s local network business, will carry out the work between now and the end of Spring 2014, subject to planning and technical constraints. 

It will take place in communities including Brighton and Cooden in East Sussex, and Haywards Heath in West Sussex, which have already been upgraded, and Battle in East Sussex, which is due to be upgraded. 

BT expects this to be the final announcement expanding the coverage of its commercial programme. Future announcements will focus on areas where fibre coverage is to be expanded even further via partnerships with the public sector and local communities. 

This expansion will boost the total number of premises with access to commercial fibre broadband to around 310,400 in East Sussex and 306,600 in West Sussex. Around 277,000 are already able to get the service in East Sussex and 279,000 in West Sussex. 

BT is also working with the public sector to reach more communities in many parts of the UK. It is a major partner in two local, multi-million pound projects supported by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) to make fibre broadband more widely available. They are the Better Connected partnership with West Sussex County Council and the e-Sussex partnership with East Sussex County Council and Brighton and Hove City Council. 

John Weaver, BT regional director for the South East, said: “This is an exciting time for the digital future of Sussex, with widespread availability of fibre broadband services fast becoming a reality for thousands of local homes. 

“With today’s further fibre broadband investment in Brighton, Battle, Cooden and Haywards Heath, we hope even more local people will soon experience the difference for themselves – by joining more than 1.7 million UK homes and businesses already using the technology.” 

BT’s fibre footprint currently passes more than 16 million UK homes and businesses. It’s due to pass two-thirds of UK premises – around 19 million premises – by the end of Spring 2014, at least 18 months ahead of the original timetable. 

Openreach is primarily deploying fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) technology, where the fibre runs from the exchange to a local roadside cabinet. In addition to download speeds of up to 80Mbps, FTTC also delivers upload speeds of up to 20Mbps1 — and could deliver even faster speeds in the future. 

Openreach has also started to make fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology, where the fibre runs all the way to the home or business, commercially available on demand2 in certain areas where fibre broadband has been deployed, and plans to expand access in due course. FTTP on demand offers the top current download speed of 330Mbps1. 

According to the regulator Ofcom, the current average UK residential broadband download speed is 14.7Mbps. 

Fibre broadband at home means everyone in the family can do their own thing online, all at the same time, whether it’s downloading music in minutes or watching catch-up TV; streaming HD or 3D movies in the few minutes it takes to make popcorn; or posting photos and videos to social networking sites in seconds. Fibre improves the quality of online experiences and supports exciting new developments in internet services. 

The benefits are also considerable for businesses, which can do much more in far less time. Firms can speed up file and data transfers, collaborate with colleagues and customers on conference or video calls or swap their hardware and expensive software licenses for files, processing power and software from cloud computing. Staff can work as effectively from home as they would in the office. 

Unlike other companies, Openreach offers fibre broadband access to all service providers on an open, wholesale basis, underpinning a competitive market. For further information on Openreach’s fibre broadband programme visit www.superfast-openreach.co.uk 


Notes to editors: 
1 These are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary. 
2 Openreach will levy an installation charge for FTTP on demand. It will be up to service providers to decide whether they pass that on to businesses or consumers wishing to use the product. 

Due to the current network topography, and the economics of deployment, it is likely that some premises within selected exchange areas will not initially be able to access fibre-based broadband. Openreach is considering alternative solutions for these locations.